Hi Everyone,

This year we formed OSU SciComm, an open, informal group of OSU professionals and scientists promoting best practices in science communication. We plan to build community, provide training, and foster
discussions that will keep OSU on the cutting edge.

On July 1, we sent out this survey to people who already showed interest in this group to help plan next year’s topics. We’ve already received 46 completed surveys! This shows the interest and need.

If you haven’t already filled out the survey, you are invited to do so. It only takes about 5 minutes: http://tinyurl.com/k6tumw5

Thank you from the OSU SciComm Steering Committee:

Kaci Buhl, Project Coordinator, NPIC
Linda Lamb, Publications/Outreach Manager, CEOAS
Naomi Hirsch, Program Coordinator, EHSC/SRP
Heather Reiff, Science Policy Coordinator, COMPASS
Nick Houtman, Editor, Terra Magazine

On January 31-Feb. 4, Terra Research Magazine and the Environmental Health Sciences Center sponsored a ScienceOnline Watch Party to bring the 7th annual international meeting on Science and the Web to OSU.  50 people registered on-line and a post-survey supported the continuation of professional development, training and resources related to communicating science at Oregon State University. We decided to form a group that could steer efforts and create opportunities.

The First Meeting was Thursday, March 21, 2013.  In attendance were Naomi Hirsch, Nick Houtman, Linda Lamb, Kaci Buhl, Tiffany Woods

1) Steering Committee Introductions

Linda Lamb – Research Publishing and Outreach Manager in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Science (CEOAS)

  • I work primarily on grant proposals, journal articles, and wide range of College publications
  • Our group of 3.5 people support ~100 investigators and College publishing (e.g., web development, computer applications, technical illustrations, printers, office supplies, outreach)

Naomi Hirsch – Communications Coordinator for two NIH-funded Centers: EHSC and SRP

Kaci Buhl – Project Coordinator for the National Pesticide Information Center (within the EMT Dept.)

  • Conducts general public outreach and risk communication
  • Produces social media posts, fact sheets, and podcast transcripts

Nick Houtman – Editor of Terra Research Magazine

  • Coordinator of Science Pub program
  •  Manager of social media and website for Terra
  • Works with a team of great writers

Tiffany Woods – News Leader, Extension & Experiment Station Communications Office
Works with a large team. Examples of types of work include:

  • Press releases, social media, website
  • Ask an Expert (through eXtension)
  • Videographers and a database of photos available
  • Develops mini modules for learning online

 2) Draft Goals for this group

  • To connect with peers within OSU, and be aware of the skills, knowledge, and resources available through cooperation
  • To generate and share story ideas
  • To navigate and build connections between the various “silos” at the University
  • To help one another be strong, productive, and driven to find solutions
  • To increase awareness of professional training opportunities in science communication, and to build opportunities where gaps exist
  • To provide one another with feedback on campus-wide resources in science communication, and develop ideas to fill training gaps

3) General comments

Importance and Challenges of Producing Visuals.

  • We’re all using social media, but the FTE allocation is wildly variable in different Departments/Colleges.
  • Photos are much more successful in fostering engagement than text or links. It’s tough to get good photos, it takes money.
  • ii. No more grinning at the camera – People want photos that tell a story.

  Importance of training and supporting Grad students.

  • There’s a great event coming up next week: Scholarly Insights.
  • OSU students can have their own blog at OSU, maybe we should be mentoring them in how to communicate effectively online/using social media.
  • Host seminars to teach key skills, mentoring grad students who are willing to try something new, fostering internships in science writing
  • Naomi is meeting with EMT grad students through the SRP Training Core – training some to deliver Ted-style presentations, others to produce “elevator talk” videos

Demands are increasing for more engagement, outreach, storytelling

  • What can faculty use to communicate better with students, community, and funders?

4) Brainstorming on Topics and Group Activities

  • Build skills in framing stories that support the OSU Brand (Attend April 25 10:30 – noon IMC Network Meeting)

  • Learn how best to talk about science in a regulatory or policy context

  • Share innovative Ways to do “Broader Impacts” to impact Science Literacy

  • Steer faculty to the ½ day media training with University Research Communications offered quarterly

  • Understand the impact of language when talking about scientific research (Normative Science article got much discussion in Terra)

  • How can OSU Science Communicators come together and support STEM and the new Center for Research on Lifelong STEM Learning?

  • How can we fill the training gaps and support career development for science graduate students?
  • Organize and use this blog to share resources, presentations, and books that support professional development on campus

  • Create a list of software and communication tools that would be helpful to OSU Science Communicators who work in “silos” like Pachyderm, software to narrate slide shows, etc.